Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln. Volume 8.
Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865.

To Benjamin F. Butler [1]

Major General Butler Executive Mansion,
Fort-Monroe, Va. Washington, Jan. 10. 1865

No principal report of yours on the Wilmington expedition has ever reached the War Department, as I am informed there. A preliminary report did reach here, but was returned to Gen. Grant at his request. Of course, leave to publish, can not be given, without inspection of the paper, and not then, if it should be deemed to be detrimental to the public service. A. LINCOLN


[1]   ALS, DNA WR RG 107, Presidential Telegrams, I, 282. On January 8, General Butler was relieved from command of the Department of Virginia and North Carolina and replaced by General Edward O. C. Ord. On January 9, he telegraphed Lincoln: ``I have telegraphed to the Secretary of War for leave to publish my report of the Wilmington affair. I have received no answer. He is absent; in his absence I respectfully ask your leave to publish it. It is but justice. . . .'' (DLC-RTL).

On January 11, Butler telegraphed Grant: ``I have asked the President forPage  208 permission to publish my report of the Wilmington affair. He answers that no report has ever been received at the War Department. You told me you had forwarded it. Has it been lost again? If so, I have a copy.'' (OR, I, XLVI, II, 97).

General John A. Rawlins replied the same day: ``General Grant telegraphed to Captain [George K.] Leet to return your report to enable him to revise his endorsement on it. It will arrive here probably to-day, and will be returned by special messenger to-morrow. He has requested its publication.'' (Ibid., p. 98).